Saturday, January 26, 2002

Enquirer Tipoff page




         WHO'S HOT

        John Calipari
       It's not just Calipari's team that's hot (Memphis has won six straight), but the coach himself is heated over the fact that his Tigers are not rated in the top 25. Of the rankings, he told the Memphis Commercial Appeal, “All this stuff is a crock of crap.” Cal said the same of the RPI. Memphis is 16-4, 6-0 C-USA.

        Connecticut
       The Huskies (13-3) have won five straight and started the Big East season with a 6-0 record. Their only loss in January was to No. 6 Oklahoma.

        Our town
       Since the Crosstown Shootout, Cincinnati and Xavier have combined to go 20-0. Perhaps overshadowed by the Bearcats' 18-game winning streak, the Musketeers have won nine straight and have the 14th-best scoring defense in the country (UC is No. 1). XU is 14-3, with two of those defeats coming to No. 4 Cincinnati and No. 18 Missouri. Who needs Tobacco Road?

         WHO'S NOT

        Iowa
       The Hawkeyes, one of the favorites to challenge for the Big Ten title, are 14-7, 3-4 and tied for sixth in the league despite a victory over Michigan State on Monday. After returning by bus from a 15-point loss at Northwestern (Jan. 19), coach Steve Alford had his team go to work around 2:30 a.m., running stairs and shooting free throws.

        Wake Forest
       The Demon Deacons have lost three in a row under coach Skip Prosser, whose last three-game losing streak was at the end of last season as Xavier's coach (Dayton, George Washington, Notre Dame). Hard to compare the skids, though. These losses were to No. 7 Virginia, No. 1 Duke and No. 3 Maryland. Talk about runnin' with the big boys.

        Ron Slay
       The junior forward, Tennessee's emotional leader, was lost for the season with a knee injury in a loss to Syracuse last week. The Volunteers are 8-10.

         PLAYER OF THE WEEK

        Darius Rice
       Miami's 6-foot-10 sophomore put together the first back-to-back 30-point games for the Hurricanes since 1989. Rice scored 32 in an overtime victory over Providence last weekend, then had 30 points and 10 rebounds in a victory over Villanova on Thursday night. In the two games, he combined to go 23-of-32 (.719) from the field. He had a better week than his more-famous uncle Jerry Rice, whose Oakland Raiders were eliminated from the NFL playoffs.

         TOP 5 LIST

        This week's topic: Top unsung accomplishments this season in college basketball.
       1. Detroit's 38-game home winning streak, the nation's longest. What's more amazing is that the Titans have kept it alive in a 11-8 season.
       2. A trio of turnarounds you probably haven't heard about: Hawaii is 16-3, a step up from 17-13 last season; Manhattan was 14-3 entering a late game Friday, after going 14-15 last winter; and Vermont is 15-4 on the heels of a 12-17 campaign.
       3. Drew Gooden's 14 double-doubles this season, including a streak of seven in a row. The Kansas forward has recorded them against the likes of Arizona, UCLA and Oklahoma.
       4. VMI freshman Jason Conley ranking first in the country with a 28.7 scoring average. No freshman has ever led the nation in scoring. Unfortunately for him, the Keydets are just 3-12 against Division I teams.
       5. Herb Sendek apparently saving his job at North Carolina State. The Wolfpack is 15-4 after going 13-16 last winter. Its 5-2 start in the ACC is its best in 13 seasons.

MUST-SEE TV

        Keep an eye on these games in the upcoming week:
        • Dayton at Xavier, 2 p.m. today (ESPN2): The last time the Flyers beat XU in Cincinnati, Jimmy Carter was still president.
        • Illinois at Ohio State, 7 p.m. Tuesday (ESPN): Ohio State could well be 7-0 in the Big Ten by the time the Illini roll in for the Buckeyes' biggest test.
        • Kentucky at Florida, 9 p.m. Tuesday (ESPN): The only bigger game in the SEC this year comes when Florida pays a return visit to Rupp Arena in the March 2 regular-season finale.
        • Maryland at Virginia, 7 p.m. Thursday (ESPN2): This was supposed to be an undercard to Duke-North Carolina (9 p.m. Thursday on ESPN), but this should be a far better game.
        • Purdue at Indiana, 7 p.m. Thursday (ESPN): Just in case the Maryland-Virginia game doesn't excite you (tipoff is the same time), this rivalry always gets blood boiling in Hoosier land.



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Coming up this week

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St. Henry moves on in All 'A' regional
Surging Woodward survives in OT
West stuns No. 2 Hamilton
Boys roundup: Ohio
Boys roundup: Kentucky
How Enquirer poll teams fared
Ohio boys basketball scores
Ohio girls basketball scores
Kentucky boys basketball scores
Kentucky girls basketball scores
Indiana boys basketball scores
Indiana girls basketball scores
For Akron prep star James, the NBA can wait
Hungry Bulls eye UC
King scores 19 points as UC women pound UAB
Chalmers a key to XU's hopes
Women: St. Bonaventure 72, Xavier 68
Cowboys interview Coslet
Expansion draft list
AFC Coaches: Just two guys named Bill
NFC: Hurting Warner could have painful Sunday
Baseball wants more eyes on umps
Baseball notebook